Bold Bombardier BSA

After seeing this bike there will be some readers thinking, ‘What the hell is that?’ Well do yourselves a favour and read on. Educate yourselves. This is how a bike-build should be.

FROM THE madness of Kustom Kult Headquarters (AKA: Daz’s shed) comes a bike unlike anything most Aussies will have seen before. The Bombardier has been blatting about the inner west of Sydney for a few months now, sometimes singing, sometimes shouting obscenities from its exhaust pipe, but always loud.

For the past two or so years, Von Daz has been steadily working on this creation. After plenty of problem-solving, and even more waiting for parts to arrive, Daz has come up with a bobber to be proud of.

So what is it? Well, it’s mostly BSA, part Harley and part Holden Torana.

“It’s a ’47 BSA A7 frame,” said Daz. “It’s got a 1973 A65 motor in it that’s been tweaked to the max. It started life as an A65 stock 650. It came into my hands in a squillion pieces so I decided to modify it. On the cases I did a bearing conversion on the right hand side. Instead of using a bush it now has a roller bearing with a quillend oil feed.  We chucked the original crank and put an A10 crank in it which gives it a longer stroke. We added a SRM big bore kit which takes it out to 840 cc’s. She’s running a Spitfire cam. Head work includes oversized inlet valves out to 43 mm, inlet ports to 34 mm, shaved head and gas-flowed. The 34 mm Mikunis are re-jetted. It’s got race valve springs which are a fucking bitch to put in with the fucking collets. Just a stock 4-speed gearbox with a Joe Hunt magneto on it, so no lights until it’s running.”

I was around when Daz was in the early stages of this project. I’ve seen the steady progress and the amount of time that went into it. I know the dramas he had with engine parts, and a few people said he’d bitten off more than he could chew with the mods. But patience and a lot of swearing have contributed to the job getting done. Out on the road, the engine sounds great, unlike anything I’ve heard before, but distinctly British, and distinctly tough.

While the short frame really contributes to the ‘bobber’ look of the bike, that front end also locates the style firmly in the post-war era. Combining a variety of parts can be a challenge but it undoubtedly adds to the character of the bike. 

“It’s a WLA ’42 springer, Hardly Dangerous, front end. It’s been modified with a 1969 Torana shockie just to make it handle better. It’s got custom-made triple trees and dog-bones to match American sizing to English sizing. Aftermarket headlight is from Eade’s. Rear guard is Triumph that’s been cut-and-shut to get the right radius. Fuel tank’s some Triumph thing from a swap meet.”

An important aspect of building a bike is sourcing parts, and I’m not talking about deciding between MCA and the Harley dealership. This sort of bike has bits collected from everywhere over a long period of time. If the part fits and looks right, use it. The fact that your oil tank was once used as a flower pot shouldn’t bother you.

“The oil tank was an aftermarket stainless deal that was a bargain on eBay,” said Daz. “Front hub is off an XT500 Japper. I think it’s Yamaha… or Honda… something like that. The rear hub is a ’60s BSA quick draw. Pretty simple, isn’t it? That tailight’s just something I found in a box I had. I think it may be a clearance light off a Bedford truck or something. It’s just had the inside glass lens painted.”

I alluded to some problems with engine parts earlier. When it comes to the subject of one particular problem, Daz is hesitant. “Should I mention the belt drive? I definitely do not wanna mention the cunts who made the belt drive as I’d never buy another fucking thing off him considering the whole thing had to be modified for it to work. But yeah, we now run a dry clutch; the bearing conversion on the clutch basket means we can run it dry.”

Daz and Dave had a good laugh at my expense one night when in conversation I used the word ‘bracketry.’ Now, I stand by the belief that ‘bracketry’ is indeed a word; just check out the bracketry section of your local hardware shop. As Daz says, “All the bracketry was made in the bracketry section of my workshop.” By the ‘bracketrist’, right? “The exhaust pipes were custom made by Scruffy Muffler, and what a choice job he does—all for a six-pack of Tooheys Red.”

Some people will tell you two years is a long bike build. Kelly Ashton will tell you it’s quick. Daz explains, “Took me two years because of the dramas with the machining that was done to the cases when we were getting the bearing conversion done. Personally, I wouldn’t bother doing it again. It’s a pain in the arse. It’s been a long learning curve.”

Daz details some of the other problems he’s had along the way: “Twisted the drive off the magneto down in Melbourne; locked the clutch basket up at 100 km/h; killing plugs left, right and centre; nearly broke my leg because I kick-started it 200 times—it’d lift me off the ground when it kicked back, the angry bitch; blew a header out of the head at 100 km/h and the pipe hit the ground, hence the dents.”

But all of that adds to the character of the bike, and with persistence and patience, it’ll all be worked out. After all, the laws of physics are just that—laws. While sometimes you think little gremlin creatures live inside your Boyer ignition module, in the end it’s science, and usually you can get the shit sorted out. While taking some photos of Daz riding around the city, he made an adjustment to the carbies that improved the sound of things immeasurably on the trip home.

So overall, is Daz happy with his creation? When asked what he was trying to achieve with the bike, his answer was direct: “Bobber—’50s style.” And did he achieve that? “I think so. I think I’ve mastered it beautifully.” Although Daz had downed a few beers before this interview, I’d have to agree with that statement.

He calls it ‘The Bombardier’ because it’s got that war-era feel to it, helped by the paint colour. “I like to call it ‘leftovers’. It was what was left over on the fucking paint bench that I mixed together.” Also, the BSA “Birmingham Small Arms” history adds to that theme of course.

So what inspires someone to build a bike so different to the current ‘norm’ in Australia? “Inspiration by beer. Beer motivated me to build this. It always gets rid of headaches you get from thinking too hard about how to make things work.”

This build was definitely Daz’s, but he made a point of thanking Matt (Green Trumpy, Ozbike #285) for the wiring.

So what’s up next for Daz? “I’m building a Triton at the moment—it’s a ’65 Norton Featherbed frame with a Triumph T150 engine in it. You’ve gotta love that English power. Maybe after that… I dunno… I might build a flat-tracker. But I’ve got a bizarre idea of supercharging a Triumph engine. I suppose I’d have to put it in a drag bike. I could put it in a Bonnie. That’d be fun.”

Daz built this tasty Beeza at a time when pretty much no-one in Australia is building them. He did it because that’s what he likes. He went through all the challenges that come with a true bike ‘build’ and he’s still motivated to sort the bike out. Why? Well it’s clear why when you see Daz riding the thing. It looks cool as hell, it sounds awesome, and he’s having a lot of fun riding something he’s poured so much energy into. You most certainly cannot buy a bike like this. I’m sure Daz has a lot of Ozbikers’ respect for this build, so I think we’ll give him the opportunity for a parting shot. When asked how he thinks the bike turned out, he said, “It turned out a sweet ride—and it’s more fun than a Harley.”

words & pics by Wasko

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